Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Aggressive Jazz Roster Moves

So, yesterday, I berated a dying public figure to spend some of his hard earned cash before he passes away. I feel a little bit bad about it now. But I wanted to go through and make some suggestions on how to improve the injury-riddled Jazz.

Knowing the Jazz like we do, they don’t like drastic changes. They will try the wait-and-see approach when Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur and even Matt Harping play together once everybody is healthy again. Then, they will do nothing in the off-season because the team cannot convince free agent NBA marquee players to come to Utah.

Since we cannot lure attractive free agents to Salt Lake City to come play basketball in the great state of Utah, I decided that we need to trade any available pieces we have NOW to surround Deron Williams with championship caliber talent. I dunno about you, but I do not see Boozer, AK, and Memo as championship caliber players. Defense wins championships and all these players are just too soft.

First, the biggest problem -- and it’s not Carlos Boozer -- it’s actually AK47. He is the highest paid player on the team and will be for this year and the following two years and he doesn’t even start and is our 5th leading scorer. It’s a little too much money for the guy who does all the intangibles. We thought he had potential to be the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but that has just never panned out. Larry Miller has been in love with this guy for so long because in his mind, if AK47 had been guarding Jordan instead of Bryon Russell, the Jazz would have a title. Quit living in the past. We need to get rid of this guy, and fast.

My Andrei Kirilenko trade suggestions:

Trade him for an expiring contract before the trade deadline to a team that could use him to win in the playoffs this season, like for Wally Szczerbiak of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland would want AK47 skills and we would want some cap space for when the Deron Williams max money hits this summer. Done.

Next up is Carlos Boozer:

Right now, he is pretty untradeable because teams are afraid of him opting out this offseason because he has already mentioned that it is going to happen in July. So, just wait until he opts out, and then sign-and-trade him for SG Michael Redd of the Milwaukee Bucks. Redd just tore his ACL and is out for the year in Milwaukee, but they would love to have a young power forward for the next five years. We need a shooting guard that can shoot, and as much as I love Ronnie Brewer, he can’t do that.

To replace Carlos Boozer, just resign Paul Millsap at 4-5 million dollars per year and make him the starter. He does almost everything that Carlos Boozer does at half the price, and the fans love him.

Next, trade Mehmet Okur right now for center Chris Kaman aka The Caveman of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Jazz love tall white lurpy guys in the middle, and unlike Memo, he actually plays well down low. He can block shots, play on the low block, and collect a ton of rebounds and the attention he would draw would allow Millsap to do what he does best with his hustle plays. Remember, once we acquire Michael Redd’s outside shooting, we don’t need Memo on the perimeter anymore. The Clippers would love the cap space that Okur can provide if he opts out this year or next year because the team has Zach Randolph’s awful contract from the Knicks.

So the starting lineup for next year would be:

PG: Deron Williams ($15 million max contract)

SG: Michael Redd ($15 million max contract, but AK is gone)

SF: C.J. Miles ($3.5 million a year, and hopefully a good slasher)

PF: Paul Millsap ($5 million a year and a bruiser)

C: Chris Kaman ($10 million a year, the same that Memo makes)

We could still have a good team off the bench of young developing players with Brewer (a good slasher), possibly Korver (a great shooter), Harpring’s expiring contract (and veteran knowledge), Kosta, Ronnie Price, etc.

But the most important thing about this roster is that there is no more Euro trash and soft players. These players are tougher and would want to help Williams win a title.

Please, general manager Kevin O’Connor! Pick up the phone! We Jazz fans are tired of AK47 and Boozer’s drama. We want guys that committed to winning. I hate to see Memo go, but he’s not championship material, even though it’s ironic that he’s the only one on the Jazz with a ring.

Also, I’d be ok with longtime head coach Jerry Sloan getting mad at these roster changes and retiring so that assistant coach and former Jazz player Tyrone Corbin, aka Dark Chocolate, would coach these hungry players to a title. Plus you know that this is better for the short-term and the long-term

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ravens Recap

I know I am a week late with this, but I wanted to submit a Ravens recap for the 2008 season. I was on a cruise in Mexico and watched the game on the boat, and I was unable to write about it until now.

I held up on blogging about the Ravens because I know that a) none of my friends really care about Baltimore and b) I didn’t want to get too excited and jinx their chances of getting to the Super Bowl.

Now that the Steelers won and they are the favorites against the awesome Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl this Sunday, I can now reflect on what an awesome year it was.

The Ravens started out the season with almost zero expectations just having fired their head coach and former BYU tight end Brian Billick. Billick led the Ravens to a Super Bowl title after the 2000 season and bought himself a long tenure as the head coach.

The Ravens got a new owner after the 2003 season (the year I interned with the team in public relations) after Art Modell had owned the team since the 1960s. The new owner wanted his own coach to put his imprint on the team since Brian Billick was Modell’s coach that brought him a championship.

The Ravens tried to hire offensive “guru” Jason Garrett from the Dallas Cowboys after all of their success in 2007. Garrett declined the offer from the Ravens and they hired an unknown special teams coordinator from the Philadelphia Eagles named John Harbaugh.

Harbaugh had been shadowed by his brother Jim Harbaugh, who actually was the starting quarterback for the Ravens in the late 1990s. Their father, Jack, was a longtime college coach; so he came from a football family.

Then the Ravens gave up on 1st-round draft pick Kyle Boller (a rookie during with my year with the team in 2003) and they drafted another unknown in Div. II quarterback Joe Flacco from the University of Delaware.

So there you have it, going into the season with and unknown rookie head coach and unknown rookie QB in Joe Flacco. The Ravens weren’t even planning on starting Flacco this year, but Boller got hurt in the pre-season, then former Heisman trophy winner Troy Smith got really sick with tonsillitis and he missed the first month of the season, so Flacco was the starter by default.

But after a decent start, the Ravens caught fire. They won every game they should have, and only lost to a few solid teams that were clearly better than them (Giants, Colts, Titans and Steelers twice). They ended up as the last wild card team in the playoffs just barely beating the New England Patriots in a tie-breaker to get in.

Baltimore beat the Dolphins in Miami in the 1st round then went into Tennessee in the 2nd round. The mighty Titans were the number one seed, but looked vulnerable the last month of the season. The Ravens won an amazing game where they were outplayed, but had just enough breaks to be one game away from the Super Bowl.

They traveled to a cold Pittsburgh stadium after playing 17 straight weeks in a row (the Ravens lost their bye this year because of a scheduling hiccup after a hurricane in Houston). They fought hard, but injuries had taken their toll, and Pittsburgh was the better team that day. The Steelers led the entire game and after going into the 4th quarter down 16-7, the Ravens scored again to get the score 16-14. They forced Pittsburgh to punt, but on the punt, a scrub on the team pushed a Steelers player after they were out of bounds and they started that drive on the 10-yard line instead of the 40-yard line.

The Steelers superstar safety Troy Long-haired Dude intercepted a pass on third down, and the game was over.

It was a great season, and felt a lot like the Jazz two years ago when they caught a couple of breaks to make it to the Western Conference Finals, but in the end the better team won. Arghhh! The frustration of rooting for the little guys who almost could!

I hope one year it’ll all pay off.

P.S. The cruise was good. I think I needed that time to recover from the loss.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My New Favorite Sports Movie: "The Hammer"

Here it is! The first ever movie review! I don’t think I have ever written a movie review for Average Joes Sports blog yet (Editors note: see here), but I guess there hasn’t been a good enough sports movie that has come out since I started this blog in July 2007.

My favorite sports movie of all time is “Rudy.” I liked “Hoosiers” and “The Natural,” but they were before my time -- hence not my favorites.

“The Hammer” stars Adam Carolla, who is best known for his former work on “The Man Show” on Comedy Central and his nationally syndicated radio he used to do with Dr. Drew on “Loveline.” Adam Carolla carries a stigma for crude humor, but I would call this movie a family film. The “R” rating is EXTREMELY deceiving because I could watch this with my nephews and nieces, which shows how wrong the MPAA was with this one.

The thing I like the most about this movie is the pacing. It isn’t a fast movie. It just chugs along nice and slow. Unlike most Hollywood blockbuster comedies, this one doesn’t need shock value or super crude humor in order to force laughs. The humor is subtle and sprinkled throughout the entire movie, so you don’t have to wait too long in between laughs and the laughs are surprisingly refreshing.

It’s just 90 minutes of Adam Carolla playing himself with his awesome sarcastic humor. It’s like a funny, but not-so-serious version of Rocky or every other boxing cliché movie we have all seen.

I’m sure the average person has never even heard of this movie, so go find it. I don’t know if your local Blockbuster would carry this movie, but for everyone’s benefit, I hope they do. Watch it on a date, with your friends or just by yourself. You’ll find yourself laughing out loud to all the little humor it provides.

"The Hammer": Rent it, watch it, BUY it, and share it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Urban, Yes You Can!

There is one man in the country that can change the monopoly of the BCS, and it’s not necessarily president-elect Barack Obama and his famous campaign slogan “Yes we can.” It’s Florida head coach Urban Meyer.

How can Urban Meyer knock out the money hungry BCS? By being a martyr.

How? It’s simple.

Urban Meyer needs to have a meeting with his players before the BCS national championship tomorrow. He needs to tell them that they are going to do something for the greater good, but it will require a personal sacrifice as a team.

After Florida beats Oklahoma tomorrow night (and we all know they will cause Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is a known bowl choker), they need to accept their crystal football BCS national champion trophy and take the microphone from the BCS commissioner.

Instead of giving their celebratory speech, Florida head coach Urban Meyer needs to say that they cannot accept this trophy because they are not the last undefeated team standing. Then the player captain needs to give the trophy back to the BCS commissioner and say they all agree and that Utah is the deserving champion in this corrupt system.

Can you imagine the look on the BCS commissioners face as this is done on live TV? The players will be heralded across the country for standing up for what they believe in for the greater good.

And they couldn’t hand the trophy to Oklahoma after the rejection from Florida because Stoops would be massacred in the papers for even accepting it. Urban would do Utah a favor after ditching the school four years ago.

Urban Meyer will be fired the next day by the University of Florida, but he’ll go down in lore amongst fans forever. He’s already done everything he possibly can for the University of Florida. Two national championships (one given back), and Florida fans have always cherished former old ball coach Steve Spurrier more than Urban anyway.

Urban would get a job within a week anyway. There will be dozens of offers from colleges or pro teams for him to choose from. You know the Jets, Lions or Browns would hire him in a heartbeat.

This would force BCS change from within, and not through anti-trust trials through the Supreme Court so that President Obama can focus on more important matters.

I love this idea, even if it’s a pipe dream. Does anyone have Kyle Whittingham’s number? He needs to put in a call to his friend, Urban ASAP.

The shockwaves would force change, and change is goooooooood.

Urban, Yes You Can!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Venting and Realization

Ok Jon. Point made loud and clear. It is very POSER to abandon my team when the chips are down. And yes, a true fan sticks it through thick and thin. If I were to abandon the Cougars after a 10-3 season then jump back on if they run the table, I’d be no better than your average Ute fan who loves his team only when they go 13-0.

So, I admit, my post yesterday was venting after a very frustrating week at an “underachieving” season after expectations were extremely bloated after the UCLA shutout.

My secondary team has always been Washington State from the PAC-10, who used to have a good football program, but now has a really good basketball program. I have an affinity for the PAC-10 and I even like USC. Although their head coach Pete Carroll can be very quirky, he is quite the interesting individual. It just blows my mind that USC always has the best talent during the past decade, yet they have to run the table to get into the title game.

They have the biggest college football TV market in the nation! They have the most talent! Yet towns like Austin (Texas), Norman (Oklahoma), Baton Rouge (LSU), Gainesville (Florida), and Columbus (Ohio State) don’t have to run the table to get the nod in the title game over a team (USC) who can beat these teams anytime, anywhere. It is some sort of a bias even when USC is just as rich in college football history in tradition as these other schools.

Ohio State just lost again, and Oklahoma will lose again on Thursday, yet I know that USC could beat Florida in Gainesville on any given day.

So, I was listening to the radio broadcast of the Fiesta Bowl last night while driving and it hit me that sports aren’t for the smartest people around. I guess that shows how stupid I must be if it took me 29 years to realize that.

But seriously, who likes sports? It’s not all the “smart” people who follow politics and business and own all the property in town. It’s Billy Joe Bob southern guy who eats, drinks and tailgates away as he roots on Alabama Crimson Tide football. Sports are for bars, gamblers and little kids who are easily impressionable.

ESPN, the biggest broadcaster of sports, who needs a class action lawsuit like the one put on Microsoft nearly a decade ago for monopolizing practices, is owned by Disney. What does Disney do best? Sell garbage to little kids.

Think of some of the biggest sports fans you know. Do they even have jobs?

The way these announcers talk down to their general knowledge like we can’t even read really started to bother me. Think about all the lame sports clichés out there. None of them make sense and any rational intelligent person would question almost all of them.

I don’t know what my point is to this realization. Maybe I am smart enough to come to any conclusion yet, but if I invested as much time into sports into something worthwhile, I could have a post graduate degree right now.

Don’t get me wrong, the determination and teamwork a child can learn in sports can be crucial for their future development. But throwing a football down a field or skating backwards won’t solve life’s problems. I guess it’s just keeping your fandom in perspective, but learning to appreciate art, music, religion, business and politics are important to living a balanced and healthy life.

ESPN already has like 6 channels anyway, so they need to launch a sports channel called ESPNerd, that applies sports to real life situations and actually gives us an intellectual breakdown of the game, and not some former jock who had his brains bashed after seven football-related concussions telling me that the BCS got it right and I’ll just nod my head and agree just because ESPN paid millions of dollars to broadcast and support an obviously flawed system that anybody over the age of 5 can figure out is blatantly nonsense.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Team Sweepstakes

Ok. It’s time. I’ve had my last straw. I need a happy ending. I haven’t had one since my childhood team the San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl back in 1994 thanks to Deion Sanders (sorry Steve Young, but Deion won you that Super Bowl). It’s time to divorce my fanhood from BYU and the Utah Jazz. I’ll keep with my word and stick with the Jazz until the end of the season to see if they get healthy and go on some miracle run in the playoffs.

Why did I become a San Francisco 49ers fan back in 1989 when I was 9 years old? Because I turned on the television one night and saw them beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl. It was easy. I saw a team win it all when I was young and impressionable and they were my team. I didn’t pick the Bengals. Sure they had Icky Woods and his awesome dance “The Icky Shuffle” and a quarterback named Boomer (one of the coolest nicknames ever), but I picked the team that won the game and THE championship.

The 49ers consisted of guys named “Jerry” and “Joe” (Jerry Rice – the greatest wide receiver of all-time without a cool nickname and Joe Montana – the greatest quarterback of all-time, also without a super cool nickname). But they won in the clutch and that was enough for me dancing around my living room in 4th grade happy as an impressionable kid could possibly be for no reason whatsoever. Why do you think there are so many Yankee, Lakers, Celtics and Cowboys fans in the world? Because their fans can actually remember championships in their lifetimes!

I’ve already gone into great detail about how this is my last season rooting for the Jazz before they lose in the playoffs AGAIN (20 agonizing years and counting), but my BYU development is relatively new. I mean, c’mon, they are my alma mater.

But I decided I can still like BYU the University and its academics and what it stands for, but I can’t get excited about a team that is absolutely the antithesis of clutch. After watching the University of Utah and its crappy basketball team beat a top-15 Gonzaga team in person last Wednesday, then seeing its over-rated football team destroy the “powerful” University of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl after BYU couldn’t defeat a 7-5 Arizona team in a “home” game at the Vegas bowl, THEN watching BYU losing to No. 6 Wake Forest at the Marriott Center in typical keep-it-close-until-the-final-two-minutes-only-to-get-your-hopes-up-then-have-your-heart-ripped-out-in-the-final-two-minutes-Jazz-playoff-fashion, I’ve had enough...

So now I am campaigning for a new college team that I can be a fan of: One that actually has a shot a delivering me a basketball or football championship in the next 3-5 years. Utah, Oklahoma, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio State, Michigan, anything from Texas, Duke and North Carolina are out.

Or I could be like Sports Guy from and not even have a favorite college team and just stick with pro sports since the BCS doesn’t even play fair.